My first culinary ”challenge”.

I’ve been cooking for a long time and recently have fallen into a slump, feeling very uninspired. The ”fast paced life bug” has bitten me, BAD!  A very dear friend I used to hang out in my kitchen with, moved away. :0( Recently she invited me to join a group on Facebook that was by invite only, Culinary Capers.  Our very own Iron Chef of sorts. Her friend Jared the creator of the group had first pick of the ingredients list. Yes, ingredients list, straight from the real Iron Chef challenges.

Considering this is our first adventure he picked Raspberries since the group is from all over the US and our season’s are different. Hmmm, what to do? Jared, Michelle and I are all very creative people…and, we love to cook. Michelle is an incredible photographer.

Jared made a phenomenal Turkey burger incorporating raspberry jam, rosemary and goat cheese with a dijon mayo and topped it with thinly sliced cucumbers and organic tomato’s. He served it with ”organic tri-colored beans and the ever popular veggie chips” we see in the grocery stores now-a-days.

Jared's creation

Michelle made a beautiful raspberry brie for an appetizer and an unbelieveable grilled sandwich, which you can find the recipe for on her blog at:

Here’s a pic…but if you want the recipe go to her blog at the above address.

The grilled heavenly delight - recipe found on her blog

AND then there’s me…always hitting the creative button in the eleventh hour.  I got home from the grocery store tonight at 7:45 p.m. and poured a glass of vino as I pondered what to whip up. I have a very personal relationship with my kitchen AND my vino.

Well here’s the end result. There are two points I will make right off the bat.

1 – I used figs as they are sweet and I did not want to add additional sugar. I have                        never cooked with figs, only eaten them raw. The seeds were a bit much for me,                      although Joe says they gave it a ”nutty flavor”. I will forego them next time and                    use another seasonal fruit like a pear, mild but sweet.

2 – I would most definitely use a pork tenderloin and not a beautiful T-bone. We felt                    the steak lost a bit of that beefy flavor with the raspberry compote on top but                        agreed that pork was the perfect canvas for this culinary masterpiece. If you choose              pork, sprinkle it with Herbs d’ Provence and Kosher salt before searing, this will make          you a happy camper! Such a simple combination produces a fabulous end result. The            recipe follows below.

I intended to make a Raspberry Pavlova for dessert but spent to much (not enough) time ”mudging” on my Grandaughter  Charlotte’s cheeks this afternoon when I should have been creating in the kitchen…….Sometimes a Mom Mom has to do what a Mom Mom has to do, you know what I’m sayin’?

THIS is Charlotte...see what I mean? Really there is no choice, cheeks MUST be mudged!

My was too late for dessert. I will do it tomorrow and if I do, I will post.

To start I finely chopped the following ingredients:

– 1/2 large shallot

–  1 and 1/2 fairly large brown figs (or a sweet ripe pear)

– ½ of a large chili pepper. Use the whole thing if you want more spice. Using only ½ made     it very mild.

– 1 cup roughly chopped raspberries

Finely chopped ingredients minus the raspberries. Sorry! They were coarsely chopped.

In a sauce pan melt 1 ½ tablespoons of butter, add shallots and sauté until soft 5-7 minutes.

Add the chili’s and continue to cook for another 3-5 minutes.



Add the figs and raspberries, heat for 2-3 minutes.

Add water/port mixture (3 tablespoons of a good Port wine (Tawny) and ¼ cup of water), simmer for 15-20 minutes on medium heat until thickened slightly


I made Havarti Cheese and Pepper Grits to go along with this dish.

Make ”Old Fashioned” not “quick cooking” white grits.  Mix in 8 ounces of Havarti cheese that has been diced into 1/4 inch cubes, take off the heat and top pot with a lid for 15 minutes. Stir

This is how it looked on the plate. I covered the plate with grits and placed the steak on top. Drizzled it with the juices and topped with the compote. Remember to garnish, garnish, garnish!

On the plate!

On the table!

Well that’s it for now…can’t wait for the next challenge!

About fnfkathy

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1 Response to My first culinary ”challenge”.

  1. Michelle says:

    Every time I look at this, I get hungry! Spectacular!

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